Monday, September 16, 2013

Windiest Spot

Just up the road a bit from Port Orford is Cape Blanco State Park, one of the windiest spots in the world.  The state park includes the iconic lighthouse, the Hughes House and also a pioneer cemetery.  If you are lucky enough to visit on a non-wind day the views are spectacular.  
The lighthouse originally contained a first order Fresnel lens but was swapped out to a second order in 1936. 

Second Order Fresnel lens.


Pioneer Cemetery 

The vacant grassy area once had a small chapel situated on it.  A Roman Catholic chapel named St. Mary, Star of the Sea.  It has long since disappeared into the ground.
All the bodies have been moved to another cemetery but the headstones remain.  













Saturday, August 31, 2013

530 Steps

As I traveled back north on 101 I stopped off at Port Orford Heads State Park.  The state park is the location of the Port Orford Lifeboat Saving Station.  The remaining structures consist of the officer-in-charge quarters and the barracks building.  The unusual thing about this station is that because the barracks house is located on a headland and the only way down to the water is by using 532 wooden and concrete steps.    

The barracks house


The Coast Guard rescuers would run down the staircase in an emergency and launch the lifeboats from the boathouse.  Often in the dark and most likely in stormy weather.  

The start of the 530 steps.



A motorized lifeboat.


280 feet below the barracks house was the boathouse.  Today only the concrete pilings remain and can be seen from the trail.  

The remains of the boathouse.


The location of the watchtower are now just small concrete pads in the ground.  


Site of the watchtower.


Thursday, March 28, 2013

Spring Break Road Trip

I want to take a momentary break from the Heceta Head Lighthouse project and do a post about my current travels during Spring Break.  I usually take some sort of road trip at this time of the year because I am free from kid duties for the week.  This year I am missing my youngest daughter's birthday trip to Disneyland due to my overloaded schedule and taking a huge road trip all over the tri-state area.

From Base Camp in Portland I travel 5 hours south,

Downtown Canyonville

My travels the next day started to Canyonville which is a couple of miles past Roseburg in southern Oregon.  The town is currently known for its Seven Feathers Casino. But the downtown is rather sleepy and depressed from economic stress.  From Canyonville I drive over the mountain towards Crater Lake to Casey State Park where there is a small ranger station needing some window repair.  On the way I ran across a beautiful herd of elk. 


 
Elk herd near Tiller, OR.

Casey State Park is located on the Rogue River and is a hotspot for fly fishermen.  Its a stunning place that is quiet and the air is crisp and clean.  Quite refreshing from the dirty air and racket of Portland.


Rogue River

Here is the little ranger station that needs a little bit of sash help.  Built in the early 1900s for the US Forest Service and recently given to State Parks.  It has since been incorporated into the Casey State Park complex.  

Ranger Station

After removing three sash for restoration I was on my way back across the mountain to the freeway and onto Hwy 42 to the south coast.  Hwy 42 is one of my least favorite routes to the coast.  The two lane road is windy and treacherous in rainy weather.  Truckers prefer this route so 2 out of 3 vehicles is a semi and they don't seem to follow the posted speed limit.  
I reached Bandon in one piece and set about my work at Bullard's State Park.  Last year vandals attempted to break into the empty Coquille River Lighthouse.  They severely damaged one of the sash but were unable to get into the building.  Partly due to the thick laminated glass in the new windows.  Look at this previous post for info about this lighthouse and the work I have done there.


Early morning on the southern Oregon Coast.


Port Orford off in the distance.

Next day was a short trip south to Arizona Beach State Park.  It was here that I was to pick up some Monterey Cypress for the building of a couple of storm shutters.  On the way back to Bandon I stopped off at a couple of state parks to see how things were.  And plus it was fabulous weather with no wind which is a rarity.  

Next up:  530 steps and a pioneer cemetery at one of the windiest places on Earth.


Saturday, March 23, 2013

Dutchman Hell, part 1

And so began the arduous and dirty job of removing 4 double-hung frames from their brick openings.  These things hadn't been moved in over a century.  I had no grand ideas that this was going to be easy.


North window frame- arched head piece


South window frame.


Weight pocket 

The frames were held in place by four sets of criss-crossing masonry nails.   These small nails were a bit of a headache to cut.  Once I did manage to sever them the frames then came out slowly from their brick openings.  Most of them in several pieces.  Only the north frame came out in one piece.  


Cut masonry nails.


Fern roots growing in between the brick and the frame

This photo shows the  condition of the brick openings once the frames were removed.  The roots were only present in one opening. 

Cast iron pulley-severly corroded

The pulley corrosion proved to be quite something.  Causing more damage than I really knew at this point.


Friday, March 22, 2013

A Word About Moisture Meters

From my work on a previous lighthouse I know the problems with moisture metering wood that has been exposed to salt water.  On this first lighthouse I was hired to restore an existing transom and build a new door.  During the restoration of the transom I received very weird numbers from my moisture meter.  After some digging around on the net I found the reason why, the salt in the wood effects the transmission between the two pins therefore giving an inaccurate reading. 




The day I went out to Heceta Head lighthouse to start the prep for the painting of the watchtower window frames I came up against a real problem.  My moisture meter was reading at the maximum number, 95.8%.  Even though I couldn't rely on the percentage number I knew all the wood was soaking wet from the feel and because water pooled around the pins when I inserted them into the wood.  And this was the middle of summer.  




After a call to Benjamin Moore I learned that they won't warranty their paint coats unless the wood substrate was at 11% moisture or less.  I knew that drastic measures would have to be taken if I was going to get a paint coat that was to last past the first six months.
First off, I called my moisture meter company to get some advice.  It was the best thing I ever did.  I found out the Lignomat moisture meters that I use are assembled and designed in Portland.  The owner of the company invited me to come to her workshop where I watched as she assembled my new moisture meter.  She instructed me on how I can monitor the wood and gage when the moisture content would be close to the 11%.  

First thing I had to do was remove the frames from the openings which is something I had not wanted to do when I started the project.  I have learned from experience that they often don't go back in as easily as they come out.  But do this I must.  
Second, I would have to take a moisture reading every other day once they were in Portland.  I would have to graph each reading and when the numbers had stopped dropping and leveled off I would be close to 11% moisture for Portland in the summer.  

Once levels were stable, then I could start the repair process.






Friday, January 11, 2013

Sash Dutchmen Done


Eventually the dutchman repairs were completed on the watchtower sash.  


Repair of utility hole in the South sash.  


Repairs to the North sash.


Grain match turned out pretty well.


Small repair on the bottom of a stile.


Meeting Rail repair.


Another meeting rail repair.


Sash done and ready for return trip to the lighthouse.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Dutchman Heaven, Part 2

After the documentation period was over I started by cutting out the damaged sections.  Even though these sash are not from the initial building period of the lighthouse I used the best conservation measures for the repairs that I could.  Therefore I removed only what was damaged and saved as much original fabric as possible. 

South top sash, utility hole removed.


After the damaged areas were removed I faced an immediate problem- finding suitable material for the repairs.  As I mentioned earlier these sash are constructed from Western Red Cedar.  The cedar being harvested and milled today, although of good quality lacks some of the more desirable characteristics of old growth cedar.  Finding the good stuff became a real problem.  All my usual sources came up empty and stated that they rarely see old growth cedar in larger dimensions, occasionally there was some siding but that wasn't thick enough.  After some head scratching I pawed through a bunch of old, orphaned moldings that I had taken pity on many years ago.  I found two pieces that were just the right size.

Molding #1-19th c. extra large molding from base of a column.


Molding #2-Early 20th c. porch railing piece.  Top busted but the body was still good.


Layout of repair piece for the South top sash.


Ready for the fit.


Removal of North top sash damage to the stile.


Note the ferric degradation (black streaks along the grain of the wood) from a nail used as a glazing point.
More about ferric degradation and its remediation later.


Corresponding patch for the stile.


Removal of the North top sash damage to the arching top rail.


The extent of damage to the North top sash was extreme.  Two holes were drilled through the main joint that holds the stile and top rail together.  One peg was completely gone and the other had been cut off.  The only thing that kept this sash from falling apart in place was the fact that it had been caulked and painted shut ages ago.  So with a pretty much useless joint the repairs had to be solid and tight.  I chose to use a hammer-head key for the fix to the arching top rail.  I wanted to be sure that the patch didn't pull away over time.

Hammer-head key for the arch top repair.